Remembering Roy Lichtenstein on his 100th Anniversary

The Pop artist was born on this day on October 27, 1923

Remembering Roy Lichtenstein on his 100th Anniversary

New York-born American pop art painter and sculptor Roy Lichtenstein studied under Reginald Marsh at the Art Students’ League (1939), served in the Army, then completed an MFA degree at Ohio State University in 1949. While painting in Cleveland (1951-7) he worked as a freelance designer, then taught at the State College in Oswego after moving to New York. Later he instructed at Rutgers University in New Jersey, Lichtenstein worked in a non-figurative Abstract Expressionist mode before 1957; then he began to use loosely handled cartoon images from bubble-gum wrappers, also re Interpreting paintings of the old West by Frederick Remington and others. His changeover to stylistic preoccupations with vulgar cartoon or pulp-magazine images, and to commercial subject matter and techniques, was complete by 1961. Conscious of the ‘happenings’ initiated in the early 1960s by Claes Oldenburg, Jim Dine, and his Rutgers colleague Allan Kaprow, Lichtenstein shared their concern with making art from the materials and products of the industrial environment. He was particularly interested in the lack of sensitivity in mass-produced, often perishable images and merchandising art, which prompted him to mimic such aspects of the public landscape in his own work. Rejecting the personal and romantic subjectivity of the Abstract Expressionists, Lichtenstein substituted the conventions of a crass contemporary art form, creating a kind of instant nostalgia. His most expensive piece is Masterpiece, which was sold for $165 million in January 2017.

By Ken Warren, 2017/18

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